The Western Conference Finals is set. The Chicago Blackhawks (4-0 vs Wild) and Ducks (4-1 vs Flames) each made quick work of their opponents in the second round to set up a heavyweight battle in the West. The Ducks were the top point getters in the Western Conference this season, while the Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup twice in the past four years and have the experience to know what it takes to hoist it again..
Both teams have cruised through the opening two rounds with the Ducks only dropping 1 game and the Blackhawks only losing 2. These teams deserve to be here and the bookies are content to make this a pick’em series with the same amount of juice on either team. That means that at 5Dimes.eu, the odds for both the Ducks and Blackhawks is 1.952 to win the series and advance to the Cup Finals.
First of all, I don’t think that the Ducks are as good a team as many people give them credit for. Yes, they finished the regular season with 109 points, but they also only had a +10 goal differential, which was the worst of any team to make the playoffs.
They did sweep the Winnipeg Jets in the first round, but most of those games could go either way and the Ducks actually set a record for holding the lead for the fewest amount of minutes en route to a sweep in an NHL series. Next up, they played the Flames, who were projected to finish second last in the league this season. I think many people would agree that it could be argued that the Canucks vs Flames series included the two worst teams in the playoffs and the Ducks were lucky enough to get the winner of that series after playing Winnipeg.
Don’t get me wrong, the Ducks have been good, but I think they are getting too much fanfare for expected performances.
The Blackhawks on the other hand may not have earned as many points in the regular season, but they had a +40 goal differential, which was second to only St. Louis, which shows that their wins were not flukey. Also, they’ve had a much more difficult road to this point in the playoffs with wins over the Predators and then a sweeping of the Wild who were a great team that took out the Blues in the first round.
I think that the Ducks rely too heavily on the Getzlaf-Perry line to score their goals and I just don’t see them outplaying Keith, Seabrook, Hjalmarsson and Oduya in this series. The Ducks do catch a break that Roszival is out for the playoffs, but they will definitely have to attack Timonen and Rundblad in order to create chances and score their goals if they hope to win this series.
The Blackhawks have too many weapons to be slowed down. They have Hossa and Toews on one line, Kane on another and Sharp on another still. They have so many lines that can score goals that it is impossible to shut them down. I see young defensemen like Lindholm, Fowler, Despres and Vatanen having a great deal of difficulty in this match-up.
To me everything points towards the Blackhawks advancing to yet another Stanley Cup Finals and I for one will be putting down a good chunk of change on the Blackhawks winning this series.
Play: Blackhawks 1.952 @ 5Dimes.eu